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January 13, 2017 – WASHINGTON – On January 18, 2017 U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R – Ga.) will face a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to determine his qualification to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. Details are pending regarding an additional hearing before the Senate Finance Committee.

Medicare experts from the Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) recommend that senators on the committee ask the following five questions regarding Price’s views on health care and how a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact Medicare.

Five Medicare Questions Senators Need to Ask Tom Price

  1. You are on record supporting turning Medicare into a “premium support” or voucher program, with the intent to reduce program spending. How can you guarantee that vouchers would not lead to reductions in coverage and increases in out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries?
  2. You are on record supporting allowing physicians to “balance bill” of Medicare beneficiaries (or charge more than they can now). Do your priorities lie with physicians’ profit over consumers’ affordability of health care?
  3. You are on record opposing allowing the Medicare program to negotiate prescription drug prices. Do you believe that drug prices today are reasonable, and that Medicare beneficiaries should pay whatever the market will bear?
  4. You are on record supporting raising the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. Have you measured how many people would be impacted by making such a dramatic change?
  5. You are on record supporting repeal of the ACA, block-granting Medicaid, and turning Medicare into a voucher program, which would terminate coverage for millions and raise out-of-pocket costs for millions more. Is your vision of health coverage in this country to have less people insured, and have those who have insurance pay more for less coverage?

With decades of collective experience advocating for the Medicare program and its beneficiaries, CMA is uniquely positioned to offer expert commentary. During and after the hearing, CMA staff members are prepared to discuss the impact Price could have on the entanglement of the ACA with Medicare; vouchers and privatization schemes; Medicaid and trust fund depletion.

CMA’s EXPERTS:

Judith Stein founded the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in 1986, where she is currently the Executive Director. From 1977 until 1986, Ms. Stein was the Co-Director of Legal Assistance to Medicare Patients (LAMP), where she managed the first Medicare advocacy program in the country. She has extensive experience in developing and administering Medicare advocacy projects and representing Medicare beneficiaries. In 2013 Ms. Stein was appointed to the national Commission on Long-Term Care by House of Representatives Leader Nancy Pelosi. She has been published and quoted on Medicare and its relation to the Affordable Care Act in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Politico.

David A. Lipschutz, Managing Attorney, engages in policy issues surrounding Medicare, including privatization schemes and voucher programs. Before joining CMA, Mr. Lipschutz worked as a staff attorney at the Center for Health Care Rights, a non-profit agency that provides direct services to Medicare beneficiaries in Los Angeles County. From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Lipschutz co-authored a chapter on Medicare in California’s Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) publication California Elder Law, Resources, Benefits, and Planning. He’s been quoted as a Medicare policy expert in USA Today, Kiplinger, NPR, the Washington Post, and elsewhere.

Toby S. Edelman, Senior Policy Attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy since 2000, provides policy analysis, consultation, and litigation support relating to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Under two grants from the Commonwealth Fund, she evaluated the federal nursing home survey and enforcement system and its impact across states. In cooperation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, she recently completed a Commonwealth Fund project to evaluate seven states' deficiency citations for misuse of antipsychotic drugs. Ms. Edelman has testified before Congress and served on federal task forces, technical expert panels, and working groups on nursing home issues. She has provided quotes for the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Enquirer, and the New York Times, demonstrating her expertise in Medicaid and nursing homes.

Read more about CMA and its work at MedicareAdvocacy.org.

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The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., established in 1986, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan law organization that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain fair access to Medicare and quality health care. We focus on the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, people with chronic conditions, and those in need of long-term care. The organization is involved in writing, education, and advocacy activities of importance to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. The Center is headquartered in Connecticut and Washington, DC, with offices throughout the country.

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